Sunday October 22, 2017   Last updated 21:09PM
max
°
min
°

On Air Now | Radio Waatea

06:00pm - 07:00pm
Bye Bye Bunny

Share to Email
Share to RSS
Share to Print

Bye Bye Bunny
WILLIE JACKSON 

“He wasn’t just NZ class, he was world class”, that’s what one of this country’s finest singers Frankie Stevens said about Bunny Walters after his death last week. In Fact Frankie thought Bunny’s voice was a mix of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdink, that’s how good he thought Bunny’s voice was and I have to agree.

I knew Bunny well when I was involved in the music business, he played a number of shows for me in the late 80s and early 90s and then worked for our organisation the Manukau Urban Maori Authority in our gymnasium. I talked about our relationship when I spoke at his tangi in Tokoroa and told his whanau that although he was from Katikati he made his name in the city and we regarded him as an Urban Maori icon.

He was a big, big star, the first Maori who was regularly seen singing on TV and he had some great hits like Take the Money and Run, Brandy, Out of Reach and The Nearest Thing to heaven. His fame came at a very young age, in fact Bunny was a household name before he was 20, but sadly he fell out with people of influence in the mid 70s and was virtually blacklisted from TV and radio. Bunny was always in demand though and was constantly hired by pubs, clubs and organisations who just loved his vocal ability. Also he received a lot of work singing jingles. It was a shame though that he virtually disappeared off NZ screens although he appeared spasmodically through the 80s and 90s he never got anywhere near the same airtime that he had received in the early 70s.

When I met Bunny in the late 80s I knew that he felt quite disillusioned with the treatment that he had received from the establishment. Bunny had been penalised for being caught with a joint but said that marijuana was part and parcel of the music industry. So the question is why was he so severely punished? I thought it was really disappointing the way he was treated, and it was sad that millions of kiwis in the 80s and 90s were denied the opportunity to hear the voice of one of our greatest singers.

We at MUMA benefited greatly though when Bunny was with us, he sung at many of our hui, weddings and tangi and totally supported our fight for Urban Maori rights. He was a quiet and humble man who eventually tired of the whole music scene and threw his life into the church which is where his final goodbyes were held. It was a privilege to be there and a privilege to know Te Kokiri Miha Waahi. Otherwise known as the great Bunny Walters.

No reira Bunny, moe mai moe mai ra.

Copyright © 2016, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com

TWWoA RadioWeb 300x150-Waatea
Rheumatic Fever
2017 Te Wero
E-Tangata-151017
Waatea TV
 
Irirangi Waatea Kaiwhakahaere Bernie O'Donnell, Te Ati Awa
Huhana Lyndon Nominated for Whangarei Byelection
Nominations for the byelection in Whangarei's Denby Ward have been received with 2 nominations.
John Fenwick Chair of Waikite
John Fenwick's links to the Waikite Rugby and Sports Club stretch back to the 1970's when as a 10-year-old he'd help his dad, the then treasurer, count the previous night's bar takings and raffle money.
Phil Anderson Customers Manager Callaghan Innovations
A full house turned out at the Succeed in a Changing World event hosted by Callaghan Innovation and Activate Tairawhiti and designed to inspire innovation.
Glen Katu Maraeroa CE
A South Waikato ginseng producer is ready to approach potential investors to increase its production and exports with the help of funding of up to $40,000 from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Boyd Broughton from ASH
An updated version of Auckland Council's 2013 Smokefree Policy was presented to the Environment and Community Committee on 17 October and the committee adopted the amended policy and implementation plan.
Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira
Breakfast Host: Dale Husband
Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern
Winston Peters decides the government this afternoon.
3 Wiremu Huta Martin | Te Kupenga Paa
Hei teenei wiki mutunga nei ka whakamauhara taatou i te pakanga nui i tuu ki te paa o Te Kupenga. Kei a Wiremu Huta Martin te roanga o ngaa whakaritenga mo teenei kaupapa
As we celebrate a magnificent political win let's remember those who could not survive National
MARTYN BOMBER BRADBURY: As we celebrate a magnificent political win - let's remember those who could not survive National's 9 years in office We should be ecstatic. Big money, big corporate farming and big business interest...
Don't put the blame solely on Winston !
JOHN TAMIHERE: I can recall carrying a cardboard cutout picture of Winston Peters around the Otara Flea Market in 1999 pretending to debate him. Why? Because he wouldn’t enter into a debate with me.
Metiria Turei vs Jian Yang - Compare the media values at work
MARTYN 'BOMBER' BRADBURY: There are times when the mainstream media coverage of two events manages to say more about the real bias at work within the media than the news worthiness of their focus.
0
TMP2
p waateap listenp podcastp rssp facebookp twittercontactus

Submit


Glossary

Subscribe

To receive regular updates from Waatea News.